Term Paper: Inferno, Canto 12 by Alighieri

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[. . .] Just as Theseus managed to outwit the beast with a clue to the labyrinth, Dante outwits the beast with his own wits, and learns that violence is not always solved by more violence. This knowledge will also guide him along the rest of his journey. Just as Lucifer represents the ultimate evil in the story, and Beatrice represents the ultimate good, there are many other references to good and evil throughout, and the Minotaur is another of these references. Dante learns violence and anger are also evil, and do not serve us in our lives. God does not employ them, and so we should not either. Violence just causes more violence in the end, and the Minotaur is the proof of this, as he angrily jumps from side to side in his blind rage, never managing to achieve his purpose. In fact, he ends up looking rather silly, and this is another lesson for Dante, the rage, and violence of anger often simply make the person look ridiculous and inept. He "cannot go" anywhere and this makes him all the more ludicrous and incompetent in his job.

Another analogy also fits the image of the bull that gains strength in the last minutes of life, and fits the image of the Minotaur, half bull, and half man. Bulls are notoriously violent, they charge at the least little thing, and are not known for their brains. They are also hopelessly lost outside of their element, as the "bull in the china shop" analogy clearly shows. Thus, this "bull man" that is the Minotaur can be overcome when it is outside its element, where it is no longer comfortable. Remove this ultimate beast from its position in the labyrinth, and you will have the upper hand, as Dante and his guide discover. Therefore, the Minotaur serves yet another purpose in Dante's growing knowledge as he moves along the pathway toward Paradise. The Minotaur shows that the violence of the Minotaur is a result of his environment and his comfort level, and if these are removed, the Minotaur is vulnerable. This is a valuable lesson in life, for it shows how even the most violent among us use their environment as a shield to hide their vulnerability.

Dante's journey cannot be too easy, or he will not appreciate what he has gained, and so he must face beasts such as the Minotaur and Lucifer to make his journey mean something. This is the ultimate purpose of the simile, the Minotaur, and the labyrinth it guards. Dante must gain knowledge throughout his journey, as we all must gain knowledge in our journey through life. His journey cannot be too difficult, or he will give up, and never be saved, but it cannot be so simple that his eventual victory is degraded and actually means little in the long run. The Minotaur provides just one aspect of the danger and violence Dante needs to overcome, and it is sufficient to challenge him, so his victory is all the sweeter. Violence and anger will never win out over understanding and knowledge, and as Dante learns these valuable lessons,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Inferno, Canto 12 by Alighieri.  (2003, March 15).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/inferno-canto-12-alighieri/2953782

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"Inferno, Canto 12 by Alighieri."  15 March 2003.  Web.  22 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/inferno-canto-12-alighieri/2953782>.

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"Inferno, Canto 12 by Alighieri."  Essaytown.com.  March 15, 2003.  Accessed July 22, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/inferno-canto-12-alighieri/2953782.